The radiation sciences option of the nuclear engineering major provides a pathway for careers in medical applications of radiation. Understanding how radiation interacts with biological material is a natural extension of the nuclear engineering fundamentals in modern physics and mathematics. Many students continue to graduate school to get advanced degrees in medical physics, either at UW-Madison or elsewhere.
Radiation science students will use their engineering analysis skills on challenges that range from working with patients to developing new medical devices and equipment. Patients experience radiation to diagnose diseases as well as to treat them. In both cases it may rely on radioactive tracers injected into their bodies or on radiation exposure from outside. Deciding how to administer the radiation to maximize the benefit and minimize the harm requires skills at the intersection between medicine and nuclear engineering. Nuclear engineers in the radiation sciences option also design, analyze and build devices that will generate novel radioactive tracers, deliver radiation externally in ever more precise ways, and detect the radiation levels to ensure the accuracy of the treatments.
Following the same deep curriculum in physics and math in the early years, students in the radiation sciences option will complete their degree with graduate courses from the internationally recognized Medical Physics program. After learning the consequences of radiation interaction with both healthy and diseased tissue, students can take courses in imaging and radiation detection, the production of radiation with radioisotopes or engineered devices, and dig deeper into the use of radiation in medicine.
Talk to your academic advisor about declaring this option.
The Radiation Sciences option is intended for students interested in medical and non-power applications.
The following curriculum applies to students who entered the program starting in Fall 2022.
Summary of Requirements
|Mathematics and Statistics||22|
|Radiation Sciences Core Requirement||25|
|Radiation Sciences Electives||11|
|Introduction to Engineering||3|
Mathematics and Statistics
|MATH 221||Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1||5|
|or MATH 217||Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II|
|or MATH 275||Topics in Calculus I|
|MATH 222||Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2||4|
|or MATH 276||Topics in Calculus II|
|MATH 234||Calculus--Functions of Several Variables||4|
|MATH 320||Linear Algebra and Differential Equations||3|
|MATH 321||Applied Mathematical Analysis||3|
|STAT 324||Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers||3|
|Select one of the following:||5-10|
|Advanced General Chemistry|
| General Chemistry I|
and General Chemistry II
|PHYSICS 202||General Physics||5|
|or PHYSICS 208||General Physics|
|PHYSICS 241||Introduction to Modern Physics||3|
|or PHYSICS 205||Modern Physics for Engineers|
|PHYSICS 322||Electromagnetic Fields||3|
|E C E 376||Electrical and Electronic Circuits||3|
|or PHYSICS 321||Electric Circuits and Electronics|
|E M A 201||Statics||3|
|E M A 202||Dynamics||3|
|or M E 240||Dynamics|
|E M A 303||Mechanics of Materials||3|
|or M E 306||Mechanics of Materials|
|E P 271||Engineering Problem Solving I||3-4|
|or COMP SCI 200||Programming I|
|or COMP SCI 220||Data Science Programming I|
|or COMP SCI 310||Problem Solving Using Computers|
|M E 231||Geometric Modeling for Design and Manufacturing||3|
|M E 361||Thermodynamics||3|
|M S & E 350||Introduction to Materials Science||3|
|Computing Elective (select one of the following):||3|
|Introduction to Numerical Methods|
|Intermediate Problem Solving for Engineers|
|Introduction to Scientific Computing for Engineering Physics|
Radiation Sciences Core Requirement
|N E 305||Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering||3|
|N E 405||Nuclear Reactor Theory||3|
|N E 408||Ionizing Radiation||3|
|N E 412||Nuclear Reactor Design||5|
|N E 424||Nuclear Materials Laboratory||1|
|N E 427||Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory||2|
|N E 428||Nuclear Reactor Laboratory||2|
|N E 571||Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy||3|
|MED PHYS/B M E/H ONCOL/PHYSICS 501||Radiation Physics and Dosimetry||3|
Radiation Sciences Electives
|Medical Physics Electives||9|
Select credits from Medical Physics Electives Course List below
|Technical Electives (not to be confused with Medical Physics Electives) choose 2 credits from:||2|
|Cooperative Education Program (no more than 3 credits)|
300+ level courses in the CoE except for E P D/INTEREGR
300+ level courses in MATH, PHYSICS, COMP SCI, STAT (except STAT 301), ASTRON, MED PHYS, and CHEM departments
Students may also propose any class that they feel will benefit their education path with pre-requisite of two physics or calculus classes. For these courses the advisor will review the request and if approved, recommend a DARS substitution.
Medical Physics Electives Course List1
|MED PHYS/B M E 566||Physics of Radiotherapy||3|
|MED PHYS/N E 569||Health Physics and Biological Effects 2||3-4|
|MED PHYS/B M E 573||Medical Image Science: Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations||3|
|MED PHYS/B M E 574||Imaging in Medicine: Applications||3|
|MED PHYS/B M E 578||Non-Ionizing Diagnostic Imaging||4|
|MED PHYS/B M E 580||The Physics of Medical Imaging with Ionizing Radiation||4|
|MED PHYS/PHYSICS 588||Radiation Production and Detection||4|
|MED PHYS 671||Selected Topics in Medical Physics 2||1-4|
|MED PHYS 701||Ethics and the responsible conduct of research and practice of Medical Physics||1|
Students are encouraged to access the online N E future course offering grid to plan their future course schedules and to confirm the offering of a course in the table.
Courses meeting the Medical Physics Electives requirement are selected MED PHYS courses numbered 500 and above and selected PHYSICS courses at or above the 400 level. No more than 3 credits of N E 699 Advanced Independent Study may be used to meet this requirement. (Refer to the NE handbook under Degree Information on the NE department website).
Introduction to Engineering
|N E 231||Introduction to Nuclear Engineering||3|
|ENGL 100||Introduction to College Composition||3|
|or LSC 100||Science and Storytelling|
|or COM ARTS 100||Introduction to Speech Composition|
|or ESL 118||Academic Writing II|
|E P D 275||Technical Presentations||2|
|INTEREGR 397||Engineering Communication (was EPD 397 before Fall 2020)||3|
Liberal Studies Electives
|College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements|
|Complete Requirements 1||16|
Students must take 16 credits that carry H, S, L, or Z breadth designators. These credits must fulfill the following subrequirements:
- A minimum of two courses from the same subject area (the description before the course number). At least one of these two courses must be designated as above the elementary level (I, A, or D) in the course listing.
- A minimum of 6 credits designated as humanities (H, L, or Z in the course listing), and an additional minimum of 3 credits designated as social science (S or Z in the course listing). Foreign language courses count as H credits. Retroactive credits for language courses may not be used to meet the Liberal Studies credit requirement (they can be used for subrequirement 1 above).
- At least 3 credits in courses designated as ethnic studies (lower case “e” in the course listing). These courses may help satisfy subrequirements 1 and 2 above, but they only count once toward the total required. Note: Some courses may have “e” designation but not have H, S, L, or Z designation; these courses do not count toward the Liberal Studies requirement.
For information on credit load, adding or dropping courses, course substitutions, pass/fail, auditing courses, dean's honor list, repeating courses, probation, and graduation, see the College of Engineering Official Regulations.
Honors in Undergraduate Research Program
Qualified undergraduates may earn an Honor in Research designation on their transcript and diploma by completing 8 credits of undergraduate honors research, including a senior thesis. Further information is available in the department office.
SAMPLE FOUR-YEAR PLAN
|CHEM 1091||5||E M A 2013||3|
|MATH 221||5||MATH 222||4|
|Communication A||3||M E 231||3|
|Liberal Studies Elective||3||M S & E 350||3|
|N E 231||3|
|MATH 234||4||MATH 320||3|
|PHYSICS 202||5||PHYSICS 241 or 205||3|
|E M A 2024||3||M E 361||3|
|E P 271 or COMP SCI 310||3||E M A 3034||3|
|E P D 275 or COM ARTS 105||2||N E 424||1|
|Liberal Studies Elective||3|
|N E 305||3||N E 405||3|
|MATH 321||3||N E 408||3|
|STAT 3245||3||PHYSICS 322||3|
|Technical Elective6||2||Computing Elective||3|
|Liberal Studies Elective||4||E C E 376 or PHYSICS 321||3|
|N E 427||2||N E 412||5|
|MED PHYS/B M E/H ONCOL/PHYSICS 501||3||N E 571||3|
|Medical Physics Elective||3||N E 428||2|
|Medical Physics Elective||3||Medical Physics Elective||3|
|Liberal Studies Elective||3||Liberal Studies Elective||3|
|Total Credits 129|
It is recommended that students take CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry for 5 credits. However, depending on their high school chemistry experience, students may substitute this with CHEM 103 General Chemistry I and CHEM 104 General Chemistry II for a total of 9 credits. Three credits of CHEM 103/CHEM 104 General Chemistry II may be counted as Technical Electives credits.
Students who were not able to take N E 231 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering as freshmen may, with the approval of their advisor, substitute a course offered in the College of Engineering or in the Departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics.
PHYSICS 623 Electronic Aids to Measurement is recommended for students in the Radiation Sciences focus area.